Racial Segregation Fuels Early Black-White Achievement Gap, Data Suggest

Oct 01, 2009

Racial segregation of schools, and thereby segregated neighborhoods, appears to be a leading source of academic achievement disparities between young black and white children, according to research by sociologist Dennis J. Condron of Emory University.

Analyzing data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), Condron examines the perplexing role of schools in narrowing the among students of varying social classes while widening the gap between black and white students. He finds that between the fall and spring of first grade, black students' reading and fall almost two months behind those of white students.

The data suggest that school factors—especially racial segregation—primarily fuel this early black-white learning disparity, which stands in contrast to the primary role of non-school circumstances (e.g., family, health, social resources) in fueling achievement gaps by social class.

The research also indicates that regardless of social class, black students are less often taught by certified teachers than are white students, and are far more likely than to attend predominantly minority schools, high-poverty schools and schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Condron suggests that "real solutions to the black-white achievement gap lie far beyond schools and require changes to society more broadly," such as reducing residential segregation and income and wealth inequality between blacks and whites. He also highlights the need for more studies with both fall and spring data, which would help researchers better understand when and how achievement gaps emerge.

More information: "Social Class, and Non-School Environments, and Black/White Inequalities in Children's Learning," by Dennis J. Condron, Emory University, in the American Sociological Review, October 2009

Provided by American Sociological Association (news : web)

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User comments : 4

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Birthmark
1 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2009
This is great news :) especially being in psychology, so I can appreciate it at a different aspect.
axlmayhem
4 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2009
Why not focus on the entire US student population?
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2009
Does that mean Hispanics are 4th and east asians are 1st? Or am I understanding this wrongly? No I'm not being an asse I read the Bell Curve too-
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2009
Does that mean Hispanics are 4th and east asians are 1st?
No, they don't have a common asymmetric master/slave history.